Pascaline Umulisa was our 2014-15 Dallaire scholarship recipient. She lost many of her family members in the 1994 Tutsi Genocide, including her father and brothers. She tells us she is thankful to God that she is left with a caring mother and a lovely sister. Since her childhood she was convinced that she was called to be an agent of positive change. As she grew up, she found empowerment through the Girl Guides (Girl Scouts) organization in Rwanda. Through her experience with the Girl Guides, she developed skills in leadership, facilitation, project management, and campaign management. She began to focus on issues faced by girls and women. In 2011, she participated in the global campaign for all Girl Guide/Girl Scout associations called “Stop the Violence—Speak Out for Girl’s Rights.” As a result of this campaign, Pascaline was invited to speak to the United Nations on the International Day of Eliminating Violence Against Women. There she met Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and other dignitaries, where she spoke on the role of youth in tackling violence.
With the assistance of the Generation of Rwanda Scholarship, Pascaline graduated from the National University of Rwanda in 2012 with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Communication. Her most recent employment was with Kigali International Community School as the Communications Coordinator. She says the Girl Guides made her the person she is now, and so she spends her time volunteering to change lives of girls and women in the country. She is motivated by Baden Powell’s quote “Leave this world a little better than you found it.” She would like to start her own Public Relations Company one day, and keep working with girl-serving organizations.
Update, September 2015: Pascaline has started working for Girl Hub Rwanda as the Communication Coordinator.
Update, April 2018: After my graduation at L&C I came back home with so much energy and ambitions. Though I was afraid I wasn’t going to find a job soon, it turned out I got it within two months only! I joined Girl Effect - then Girl Hub, as the Communications Coordinator, the position that required lots of writing. I was lucky to use what I learned at L&C to deliver efficiently. As a girl who always looks for new opportunities I left Girl Effect to serve the Girl Guides Association in September 2016 as the 12+ Programme Manager. I love this programme for adolescent girls as it provides them with health, economic and social assets that will accompany them through adulthood. Girls in Rwanda need such safe spaces to talk about issues that affect their lives, enjoy their adolescence and tie everlasting friendships. So, I was lucky to witness their growth everyday and see them taking action to even change their families and communities. Did I say that I was at the centre of this programme and everything I had to present to the donors and other stakeholders was in English? After the programme I was promoted to become the Executive Secretary for the Girl Guides Association, a challenging yet rewarding position. I manage the staff and oversee overall association’s projects.